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Disabling disability

Physically challenged artists may be rich in ideas, but the impoverished imagination of rich buyers makes them purchase only the works of famous names.



Arveend Budh Singh's creation.

LOOKING AT the brighter side of life helps, is what sometime seems to have been understood better by differently abled persons than many others. A point well proved recently at a painting exhibition by artists with visual, hearing or speaking impairment, polio mellitus, motor neuropathy and so on. Many of them were semi literate from financially weaker families of parts of U.P, Rajasthan and Delhi. The exhibition titled `Beyond Limits - 2004' organised by Family of Disabled - FOD - at Arpana Art Gallery in New Delhi had works by artists aged 18 to 65.

Most of these works had two things in common: bright shades and a reflection of the positive side of life - be it a colourful peacock in fabric, water and oil by a 33-year-old matriculate Kanchan Vanvani; serene semi abstract figures in dry pastels on paper by Sanjay Saraf; Naveen Grover's mother and child; Siddhartha's religious figures; Jamalludin Ansari's depiction of atrocities against women with watercolours; or Sriharsha Sankar Sukla's interesting collages depicting social issues and scenic splendours.

What attracted most viewers was 25-year-old hearing impaired Imamuddin's works on wildlife, particularly tigers. Earlier a signboard painter, he took his training from Ranthambore School of Art. Now he specialises in wildlife painting. His miniature works on silk give the impression of a photograph. Despite exhibiting his creations at various prestigious venues at Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, Imamuddin still reels under severe financial crunch.

Little sale value

It is sad that despite a general appreciation by art lovers at the venue, such exhibitions prove to be of little sale value. "Most of the people who can afford to buy works of art go for signature works. They come here, appreciate and go with promises of buying the works, but never come back. And this despite the fact that we keep the prices as low as Rs.1500 while the highest range touches only 20,000. Sometime it affects the morale of the artists too," says a representative of FOD.

To make people aware of these artists' calibre, FOD uses many of these works on greetings cards each year.

Though the exhibition is over, the works can still be viewed or purchased from the FOD premises at B-1/500, Janakpuri.

RANA SIDDIQUI

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